Friday, June 24, 2022

Brahms in Philadelphia

No. 389 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. Mobile followers can listen to the montage on our Pod-O-Matic Channel, and desktop users can simply use the embedded player found on this page.


This week, I programmed a Brahms week – with the two concertos for violin and violin and cello, the two serenades and over the next couple of days, symphonies 1 to 3 to complete the cycle started Wednesday with the Fourth. This Friday montage features symphonies 1 and 3 from the complete Brahms cycle Riccardo Muti recorded with the Philadelphia Orchestra for Philips in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.

Using power of suggestion and conscious engineering, Leopold Stokowski (1912-1938) initiated the idea of “The Philadelphia Sound”. He famously introduced unsynchronized bowing and a magical air of conducting without a baton. Sergei Rachmaninoff was hopelessly captivated — the sound always seemed more Russian than Viennese — and wrote his Symphony No. 3 (among other works) for what became known as The Fabulous Philadelphians. Eugene Ormandy (1936-1980) is said to have insured the sound’s continuation by doubling second violins with violas, sometimes too indiscriminately, maybe to cover significant lapses in his conducting technique.

During his tenure in Philadelphia from 1980 to 1992, Riccardo Muti took the sound a bit underground. He stated that his approach was to remain faithful to the intent of the composer, and this  meant a change from applying the lush "Philadelphia Sound" to all repertoire; however, many of his recordings with that orchestra largely seem to do away with its hallmark sound. As the late, longtime violinist Morris Shulik put it, “He said that when we play Brahms, we should have a Brahms sound. When we play Ravel, it should be a Ravel sound. But all he ever got from us was a Martucci sound.”

YouTube has many recordings of Ormandy performing the two works featured today with the Philadelphia Orchestra (and its distinctive sound) and I retained versions from the 1950’s for you to compare:

Symphony no. 1

Symphony no. 3

And, here the complete Muti cycle, including the symphionies 2 and 4 and usual “filler”pieces (including a good version of the Alto Rhapsody with Jessye Norman as soloist)

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Hugh Bean (1929 – 2003)


No. 388 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. Mobile followers can listen to the montage on our Pod-O-Matic Channel, and desktop users can simply use the embedded player found on this page.

Original posts: TalkClassicalBlogger

This week’s new podcast is part of our A la Carte series, and extends an October 2015 Tuesday post dedicated to Leopold Stokowski’s 1966 recording  of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by adding some more works featuring the soloist from that session, Hugh Bean.

Hugh Bean attended the Royal College of Music where at age 17 he was awarded the principal prize for violin. A further year's study with André Gertler at the Brussels Conservatory on a Boise Foundation travelling award brought him a double first prize for solo and chamber music playing, and in 1951, he was awarded second place in the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition.[

He was appointed professor of violin at the RCM at the age of 24 and became a freelance London orchestral player, until he was made sub-leader and then leader (1956–67) of the Philharmonia Orchestra. He was co-leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1967 to 1969. In 1989, he returned to the Philharmonia Orchestra as co-leader, and became Leader Emeritus.

Hugh Bean performed concertos with many leading orchestras, both in the UK and abroad. With the Philharmonia Orchestra he recorded Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with Leopold Stokowski, and Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending with Sir Adrian Boult (featured on today’s playlist. He made many recordings of chamber music with the Music Group of London, and together they toured extensively.

I think you will (still) love this music too.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Programming Note for June-August 2022

 Normally around this time I reduce my activities here and on different forums. 

Recently, a lot of things are happening on the home front, and I need to focus more attention on these projects - nothing sinister, I assure you - meaning I will enter my summer hiatus a month early, starting June 1st.

I have a number of series ongoing - Lundi aec Ludwig, the Lyrical Alphabet and our ITYWLTMT Podcast series (at 387 and counting down towards 400). I will do my best to continue these series in June, and into the Summer, time permitting of course.

There won't be daily podcasts for the foreseeable future, though I may drop a few shares occasionally. Remember you can always find our old material on the Internet Archive under Community Audio.

Have a great Summer


“Otto Klemperer A la Carte


No. 387 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Tuesday Blog. Mobile followers can listen to the montage on our Pod-O-Matic Channel, and desktop users can simply use the embedded player found on this page.


Original posts: TalkClassical; Blogger

As may has five Tuesday, my A la Carte post doubles as our quarterly Tuesday podcast. For the occasion, I am extending my Vinyl’s Revenge share from 2016 by adding a Mozart symphony, which in turn uses one of the three symphonies we had featured in our 2011 post called “Mozart’s European Vacation”. Here’s what I wrote then about the Prague symphony:

Mozart is often said to have had a special relationship with the city of Prague and its people. Mozart is claimed to have said, "Meine Prager verstehen mich" ("My Praguers understand me"), a saying which became famous in the Bohemian lands.

Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro, which premiered in Vienna, was produced in late 1786 in Prague with tremendous success. The orchestra and some affiliated music lovers funded a personal visit by Mozart so he could hear the production. Mozart arrived on 11 January 1787 and was feted everywhere. On 19 January he gave an "academy" (that is, a concert for his own profit) at which the “Prague” Symphony in D major was premiered.

Again, this performance features Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Orchestra

I think you will (still) love this music too